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mercredi 31 mars 2010

Sand and seashells.................

After our visit to the restaurant by the sea last week I simply had to try my hand at their gorgeous sand and seashell vases. I found a large box of shells at a brocante at the weekend for 10 euros and bought the vase from another seller for just a couple of euros . A quick stop at the beach on the way home for a bag of sand and voila!!!!
I must admit I am quite pleased with the result..............................but whether it will survive the investigations of the Baron remains to be seen. That kitten is into everything!!!

mardi 30 mars 2010

Dearest little Andree........................

I found this beautiful plump 19th century lace sample work book at the weekend brocante......................
A wonderful heirloom treasure filled with beautiful morceaux of little crochet lace samples.........

Each intricate piece of work has a sepia ink written number...............


But best of all is the sepia inscription in the front cover.......Dearest little Andree look after this precious keepsake.

I wonder if it was a message from a Grandmother to her Grand-daughter?

lundi 29 mars 2010

Spent an afternoon stripping away hideous 1950s wallpaper in the salle de bain! We really seem to be getting ahead with our renovations now and the spring weather will certainly make life easier.

We found these huge old doors at a local brocante and as soon as Mark fitted them in place they looked as if they have been here forever. Exactly what I want for this old house.

We have found 5 pairs of matching 19th century shutters and collected them this evening in the pouring rain. Called Persiennes they are the folding type each being made up of three panels. We are going to use two sets on the insides of the windows in the bathroom as they have divine old latches and will be much better than blinds. The others will be squirelled away with all the other old architectural treasures we have been hoarding to be used as we move through each room decorating. However......Mark has said that if I come home with anymore old doors he will join the Foreign Legion. I am slightly addicted to them!!!

dimanche 28 mars 2010

Treasures, tea .......and a lack of sea!!!!


Up early today to go brocanting and stepped out into a miserable dark morning spitting with rain - darker due to advancing our clocks one hour the previous night.  Fortunately the first call was a brocante held under cover so the rain wasn`t a problem! We caught many  sellers as they arrived and so had the first choice of the items they were unloading. The tiny little cafe was already serving hot steaming coffee and hot red wine for breakfast! Definitely a 'cafe' for me, although Mark seemed to have more of a spring in his step after a glass of the wine!!
As the rain was stopping we moved on to the second brocante of the day and I was delighted to meet up with a dealer who I hadn`t seen for years. After the traditional exchange of kisses and handshakes he pulled a box from his van which was full of some gorgeous old 19th century tickings that he had found in an attic clearance.
He also had the most delicious old chandelier dripping with lustres. I couldn't leave without them!

The boot of the car was soon filling up nicely with a batch of 19th century monogrammed panels, a lace sample book, silk boudoir shades, wall sconces and some fabulous old sepia written documents.

Delicious shabby chic treasures which I shall be  listing during this coming week!




We arrived at the third brocante just as the sun was starting to peep through the clouds and immediately came across a divine pair of old hat stands with superb old paintwork and some sweet little silver locket brooches.

By this time we were flagging a little and as we live just 15 minutes from the coast we decided that coffee by the sea was definitely in order.
We drove to Carteret so that we could sit at one of our favourite cafes overlooking the marina -  but, as you can, someone had stolen the sea.....................!!!


We parked at Les Mouettes................

......and ambled along to another  favourite cafe.

I almost fell asleep in one of their plump linen covered sofas!

I absolutely LOVE Sundays here!!!!

samedi 27 mars 2010

Brocanting on a shoe string..................................

There are some wonderful old treasures to be found at the brocantes here if you are out and about very early. I am always on the lookout for a bargain and I love it when I can fit something into our ongoing renovation.

  I wanted an unusual splash back for the cooker and really wanted something other than tiles. This huge old silvered mirror had lost all of its gilding on the frame and was propped up for sale against an old van early one morning for the huge sum of 12 euros!

I didn`t even haggle to say the least although I am sure it would have been 10 euros had I tried!  Dating from the late 1800s the mirror plate is beautifully silvered with age in a waterfall effect and it gives a deep twinkling reflection.

With the help of a pot of Gustavian grey paint and a signwriter it has made the most divine and quirky splashback.
It is an early start tomorrow morning with two local brocantes to go to. It is never any effort getting up at 5am as the thought of what could be there is always so tempting! Wish me.............. Bon Courage!!!

vendredi 26 mars 2010

Wild violets and bewilderment!

The garden has come alive over night with gorgeous tiny wild violets! Where on earth did they spring up from so quickly without me noticing? Obviously the violet police arrived at midnight and decided there was a great lack of them!
There are so many I cannot bear to walk across the grass for fear of squashing some!

After millions of years together Mark and I finally tied the knot last summer - and any normal bride would have received a gift from her new husband to treasure; perhaps a diamond or beautiful piece of gold. But for me? A 19th century battered old cart for the garden.........and I love it!!!! I am going to fill it with tumbling plants this year! Here it is in after the snowfall we had a few weeks ago.



But what I really want ( yes I know ....want want want!) is an old horse drawn gypsy carriage so I can fit it out with old French tickings and faded florals! Perhaps another renovation project for Mark at some point......!


We went off to the supermarche this afternoon and in the vegetable section we came across a very distraught, elderly lady who seemed to have lost her shopping trolley. She was so bewildered we stopped to help her but all we could find was an unattended trolley with some shopping which she said was not hers. Mark went off to the car park to get her a new trolley so she could start again. A few aisles later we discovered lots of items in the bottom of our trolley that we had not chosen! Yes, it was us.We had been pushing around the poor old lady's trolley! Did we confess? No....and she seemed well into her second bout of shopping  we simply replaced her items very sneakily and will no doubt be arrested next time we go back for looking shifty on the supermarche surveillance camera!

PS: And, since many have asked about my health since my "wobble off" last June, a visit to my cardiologist  today for an ECG resulted in him declaring that my heart was OK and in the right place after all...... and is certainly not as rickety as that old cart above!!!

jeudi 25 mars 2010

Latest treasures................

A busy day today photographing and listing some of my latest finds....................


A set of delicious 19th century cast iron fittings for a window locking system.................perfect for a new decorative project.............
A delectable old toleware boudoir stand................

Fabulous antique monogrammed trousseau linens.............

A batch of wonderful old mirrored picture frames from the 1920s............

And the most exquisite antique ex-voto made with silk and gold wire thread passementerie.
I could keep it all as usual but this place will burst at the seams with treasures if I carry on!

mercredi 24 mars 2010

Notre Dame de la Salette....................

I pass this huge cast iron figure daily in the grounds of a local church.....................
And I know nothing about it at all other than it carries the wording Notre Dame de la Salette.............
And although it is very very beautiful.............

It is also SO sad and sombre ....I wonder what her story is?

mardi 23 mars 2010

Good friends...good wine...good food....goodnight!!!!!

We have just come back having had a wonderful long, relaxed lunch with eight friends at the divinely chic "Hotel des Iles" which overlooks the sea at Barneville.

I love its interior - soft, gentle and SO stylish!

Everything is so carefully displayed including pretty treasures from the beach....

I adore the room keys at reception all attached to blue glass, miniature fishing floats...........

And lunch was a delicious buffet of the freshest seafood....which I wouldn`t let anyone touch  until I had taken a photograph!!!!


And plates were filled over and over...........

as were our glasses....!!!...............

........leaving just enough room for the delicious cafe and dessert...........

All of this followed by a long stroll along the beach and now I am SO relaxed that I am soon going to slip into a crumpled heap,  but not of course before I have listed more treasures on my auction site!
A la prochaine..............

lundi 22 mars 2010

Niche a Mimi...........................

This wonderful old stone dog kennel was here in the gardens when we bought the house......................


I was told it was the "niche a Mimi".....Mimi`s dog house. It`s just so cute!

dimanche 21 mars 2010

The early bird..........................

You know that the brocante season is well and truly underway when you are setting your alarm on Saturday evening for 5.30am. The only activity on the misty road this morning was a crossing deer! But the early bird catches the worm and I came home with some delicious old treasures..........................


I adore these gorgeous old corset pieces with their original labels.................


And these delicious 19th century gilded tole borders.........


So now I just have to get it all dusted off and photographed!

A la prochaine......................................

samedi 20 mars 2010

I want.....I want....I want................

Last year a friend presented me with a book full of tips for a peaceful and wonderful life. It said I had to WANT to dump my "toxic load" and WANT to find my "inner goddess", Well I`ve looked for my toxic load and can`t find it and I am not sure I have an inner goddess so these are the things I actually do WANT..................................

I want an old set of scales for the cuisine here.....not just for cooking but I can weigh my Ebay parcels before setting off for La Poste each day.



When this house is finally renovated I want the staircase to look like this.................



I want somewhere gorgeous to store all my linens................


With work on the the attic bedroom halfway through I want it to look like this when it is finished.
 And finally ...............I want my younger sister Lynn in the UK to stop telling me that the light bubbles that keep appearing on the attic renovation photographs are simply the ghosts of people who lived at the chateau in the last 200 years!!!






I want to not think about her comments each time I climb up that tiny twisting  staircase to the attic!!!!!

vendredi 19 mars 2010

Heavens laundry..............................

So this is a Friday confession! I don`t know why today is the day I confess but I suppose after 6 years I am safe?!!!



When we first moved here I visited a local supermarche and was so suprised to find a basket near the door with some wonderful antique monogrammed linen sheets, all neatly packaged and ironed in plastic bags with very low price tickets. So I did what any self respecting antique textile dealer would do. I popped them in my basket with my shopping and paid at the checkout.




This wonderful shopping went on for many many weeks and I found some wonderful old treasures and of course sold them on.





I just assumed that perhaps staff or a local charity were allowed to put their own items for sale in that basket.


One day I approached the checkout with my groceries and a divine red monogrammed sheet and the assistant or "hostess de cabine" as they are called here asked if I was Madame Rembouillet. Of course I said "non" so she took the sheet, rabbited something I could not understand and put the sheet below the counter. So, I paid for my groceries and went home feeling a little miffed that such a wonderful sheet had been confiscated!


Later that week at a dinner party I asked about the sheets and was told that the supermarche took in the dry cleaning and laundry for the town and that when an item was ready the bags of laundry were placed near the door and you simply collected it and paid at the checkout.


Oh NO!!!! How many ladies had been there to collect their family heirloom trousseau sheets to find they had not been returned from the laundry?




And now the supermarche no longer has a laundry service and I may be responsible for its demise after all those complaints!


But, I am not alone in my crime for how many of you purchased those delicious old linens from me? HA! When we all get to heaven I know we will not be allowed to lounge on a huge fluffy cloud preening our frou frou feathered wings.


We will all be put to work in that big laundry in the sky washing angels socks and we will have to wear plastic covers on our wings to stop them wilting in the steam!!


And me? I know that I will be given the socks of the angel with the cheesy feet and I shall return to my cloud each night with my hair stuck damp on my head and with droopy wings.



But heavens above! It was SO good while it lasted...........................!!!!!!!!!!!!